The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will not hear a request to authorize adding moorings to Keauhou Bay at a meeting today.
State Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Resources Administrator Ed Underwood confirmed Thursday he withdrew his request to increase the number of moorings at the bay to 16. The controversial proposal spurred a lawsuit alleging DLNR failed to follow its own rules when deciding the project was not subject to an environmental assessment.
“We decided to withdraw it so we could consider all the various arguments and how to best move forward,” Underwood said, adding officials ultimately thought the decision to take the request to the board was “a bit premature.”
He said the department was “still in discussions” about whether to move ahead with an environmental assessment.
However, a deputy Attorney General confirmed with Peter Olson, one of the attorneys representing the Keauhou Canoe Club, the department would conduct the environmental investigation.
Keauhou Canoe Club President Bill Armer said he learned about the change Thursday. Armer planned to attend today’s meeting in Honolulu.
“There’s never been a deviation or alteration in their course,” Armer said. “They changed their position. That’s significant.”
Armer said the decision to pursue an environmental assessment was only a first step. He said he thought an environmental impact statement — a lengthier, more in-depth review of the impacts a proposed project could have — would be the next step. The idea behind the lawsuit was to compel the DLNR to “do what your rules say,” Armer said.
The news isn’t just good for canoe club members, he said, but for everyone in West Hawaii.
“We’re very pleased and looking forward to those conclusions,” he said.
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